Flow cytometry is a very powerful quantitative cellular analysis technique for the complex characterization of cells and cell populations on single cell level. Data collected by flow cytometry allows statistical analysis of cellular populations as well as quantitative assessment of various features of acquired objects. Flow cytometry is widely used in basic and clinical research including: GFP expression analysis, ploidy analysis, immunophenotyping, cell sorting, and autoimmune and cancer diagnosis, or combined with imaging techniques, termed Imaging Flow Cytometry.
The Iain Fraser Cytometry Centre (IFCC) at the University of Aberdeen represents a key component of our Core technology facilities in the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS). The IFCC was established with funding from Dr Iain Fraser, who founded Saving Sight in Grampian in 1988 to raise funds to research blinding diseases of the eye. Since then more than £3.2 million has been raised to fund several projects, including major contributions towards the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment for the Cytometry Centre.
The Cytometry Centre supports researchers and students at our Foresterhill and King’s College Campus and more than 50 principal investigators across all main research programmes in the IMS alone. IFCC currently houses multiple, unique, state-of-the-art cytometry technologies for research, training and teaching in different research programmes. Our most recent purchase was the Imaging Flow Cytometer Amnis ImageStream and the Acoustic Flow Cytometer Attune (kindly donated by The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation).
The Cytometry Centre staff not only support researchers by providing advanced cytometry technologies expertise, but also offer advice on project aims and design, offer continual training and teaching to students and research staff, perform their own cutting-edge cytometry research, ensuring the sustainability of the expertise in the Iain Fraser Cytometry Centre in the longer term.
Cytometry technologies are in big demand and interest in these technologies is growing. The IFCC is highly active in many public engagement activities organised by the University of Aberdeen including:• Aberdeen Doors Open Days: we actively participate in the Aberdeen Doors Open Day events and demonstrate flow cytometry to groups of interested people.• Work Experience for Secondary Schools: we offer work experience activities in collaboration with local secondary schools, e.g. The Gordon Schools Huntly, Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen Grammar School, Cults Academy and Albyn School. IFCC has also provided summer placement projects for pupils from The Gordon Schools Huntly, in cooperation with Nuffield Research Placements, Scotland.• Local Charity Lab Tours: we actively organise lab tours and presentations for local charities, such as Friends of Anchor.• Scientific Society meetings: we are heavily involved in both hosting and running scientific meetings to provide networking opportunities for students and researchers to exchange scientific knowledge. Such activities include our Scottish Society of Cytomics (SSC) conference, flowcytometryUK, and International Society for Cytometry (ISAC).
Dr Raif Yucel, Flow Cytometry Core Facility Manager